Bear with me… this post is going to be long and photo-intensive. And ALL about my favorite baseball team. It’s been a very long off-season so far, so this week has been super exciting for us! The Bucs “Winter Caravans” have been touring around the region, stopping at various places for autograph sessions… all of this is leading up to their big PirateFest carnival this weekend in Pittsburgh.
Monday night we drove all the way to Erie, PA to meet one of the Caravan groups. It was a long drive, and it was snowy and nasty that far north… but totally worth it! This group included players Garrett Jones (now you know why it was worth the drive, right??), Joel Hanrahan, and Jose Tabata… and two coaches, Jeff Banister and Luis Silverio. We also met broadcaster Greg Brown, who was sooo friendly and took the time to chat with everyone and sign personalized autographs for the kids. Oh, and the Parrot was there, too!
Oh, Jonesy. You’re so beautiful!! Even Avery was starstruck when she came face-to-face with Garrett. (And, no, I have no idea why there was a Shake Weight sitting next to him… that’s been a very popular question since I started uploading these pics all over the Internet this week!).
Jose Tabata is another of our favorite players (oh, and that’s Joel Hanrahan hiding out in the background of the first pic). I especially love the photo of Tabata signing Avery’s autograph book (that her crafty mom made especially for her!).
Here’s Nick (and Damon), totally holding up the line… having five million things signed by the guys. (Luckily, no one seemed to mind!)
Avery, getting the coaches to sign her book. (Banister on left, Silverio on right)
And, here’s a photo I took on the way out… of the sad, little Caravan bus (that Joel Hanrahan reported earlier in the day, via Twitter, had no heat!) outside of Dick’s.
Tuesday evening, Nick and Damon went to another Caravan in Pittsburgh… Avery and I opted to stay home for this one. Although now I’m kinda regretting that decision, only because I don’t have any pics of that experience!! But the boys met players Andrew McCutchen, Evan Meek, and Ross Ohlendorf… and coach Nick Leyva. Broadcasters Bob Walk and John Wehner were also there.
Last night, the remaining Caravan was very close to us, in Steubenville, Ohio… so we all headed out again for that one. We got there an hour early and ended up wayyy at the front of the line, which was nice! This time we met players Neil Walker and Jeff Karstens (James McDonald was scheduled to appear but was sick and resting at the hotel), coach Ray Searage, and broadcaster Tim Neverett.
Our Pirates Wall is now being filled with autographed photos and oodles of balls. We had a good start on it last season, but after these Caravans, it’s looking even better!
Nick had a brilliant idea to print out an 8×10 photo of our Wall… and have the Pirates all sign that photo. I thought it was kind of strange, but lemme tell ya, that photo was a HUGE hit among the players this week! They all stopped to look, and tried to find themselves hanging on the Wall… Joel Hanrahan was upset that there’s no pic of him up there (trust me, we’re going to fix that soon!). Jeff Karstens said, “Oh, cool… is this like a Sports Room you have?” Nick said, “Nope. That’s the living room!” Jeff looked at me and grinned, and I said, “Yes, I am the coolest wife ever… I let him decorate my living room with Pirates!” (He doesn’t have to know that I love the Buccos just as much as Nick does!)
Saturday, we’re going to PirateFest, where more of the players will be, and hopefully we’ll be able to get lots more autographs on that groovy Wall photo. (I admit, Witschey, it was a GOOD idea… you were right! Enjoy that one, lol!)
This is the first year that we’ve participated in the Winter Caravans and PirateFest, and I have to say, it’s been so much fun. A great way to break up the loooong off-season and get Pirates fans excited again about the team. I know we’re counting the days ’til Opening Day at PNC Park!!